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Click Mexicana

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1 Review

A low cost airline based in Mexico City, Mexico providing services in North, Central and South America

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      07.06.2009 14:08
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      Choose any one else - there's enough options here

      Click is the budget arm of the full-service airline Mexicana. They operate domestic routes in this country, and I have been unlucky enough to fly with them on several occasions.


      Booking

      Mexico doesn't quite understand the whole internet-booking phenomenon yet, and whether you get a better rate online or in person in a high-street shop depends on the airline in question. I discovered this the hard way with Aeromexico, who wouldn't let me book online using a British address (it had to match the credit card). Click, however, score well on this front, since you can book online regardless of your country of origin, there are no additional fees for using a credit card, and the prices are cheaper online than in the Mexicana shops.

      One thing they do not have, however, is a reliable website. I'm sure it's secure enough in terms of your details, but it has a few blips, for example mixing up my First Name and Surname, with the result that for one of my flights I was registered as Miss Zoë, like some sort of ancient ballet mistress. I went into the local Mexicana office to note this, but they said they couldn't help, as Click is separate, so I would have to ring a premium rate number from my hideous PAYG mobile. I tried, their offices were shut, I gave up, and decided to plead foreigner ignorance if needed at the airport. But... I'm not sure whether they failed to notice, or failed to care, but the mix up did not prove a problem for my two flights on that booking, and wasn't mentioned by any member of the airport staff. I know I was flying within Mexico, but I would still have expected someone to not that the person flying had a different name to the person on the flight list.


      Check In

      I fly from Mexico City airport, and having travelled domestically and internationally from there, with a number of different airlines, I have seen it from many angles: there's the good and the bad, and then there's the wildly incompetent offerings of Click. The first time I flew with them was a public holiday, and the airport was crowded. They had separated Mexicana check in from Click check in, and though they had half a dozen desks allocated for the latter, only half of these were staffed. I joined the shortest queue and waited. And waited. For a good 15 minutes it did not move at all, and people were starting to get angsty and glare at the 3 travellers standing at the desk, talking to the member of staff. As it turned out, it was not their fault: the airline had done some wild overbooking, and there was no room for them on their flight, so they were trying to find them another flight. Quite why this was being done at the check-in desk, and not the customer services one across the path was unclear.

      Eventually, another member of staff appeared, and told us to move to a different line, since this problem would still take some time to resolve. He also told us about the overbooking, which did little to reassure us that there would be any seats left on our flights by the time we finally got to the front of the line.

      Since I was travelling with hand luggage only, he told me I could check in at one of the computers about 50m away, so I trekked off there, only to discover that I couldn't do so, as it would not accept my British-issue credit card, which it wanted as confirmation of my booking. I was peeved, not least because I'd lost my place in the line, and quickly hurried back. It was another 45 minutes before I was able to check in, and I was still waiting to get my breakfast. I didn't have time for my anticipated Cinabon though since I was told to go straight to the gate, and given the number for this before I passed through security control.

      Last time I flew with Click, the Swine Flu crisis was in full effect. The airport was deserted, and I didn't have to wait at all, but I think it's a little much to wish for another pandemic panic just to make my travelling life a little easier, and on occasions when I've flown with other airlines, I've walked past the Click desks and never seen them as empty as they were on this occasion.


      Airside

      That first time I flew, I was well-behaved and went straight to the gate, only to find it was advertising another departure. I checked the screens, and discovered my flight was not showing at all, though it should have been since earlier and later departures were both on there. I scurried to the Click 'help' desk (and I use the term loosely) and found that their special Click-flights-only screen was displaying a (different) gate so I went there, and saw one of the air hostesses waiting to board. I double checked with her, but she was going to Oaxaca. I was going to Veracruz. Back to the desk, I waited in the not long, just slow line to speak to the woman but was informed they did not have a gate for the flight yet - which made me wonder why I had been given one at check in in this case, and why the screen just behind her was still currently showing one. Ah, she said, the screen is broken. Helpful. I can appreciate that sometimes they do not know where you'll be departing from, but usually they don't just make up any old gate in lieu of this. I expressed my concern since we were supposed to be boarding at this point, but she reassured me that the flight would be delayed. She could not tell me by how much. By this point I was supremely unimpressed, and hadn't even got on board yet. Eventually we boarded an hour late, from a completely different gate, whose number we were only told 10 minutes before.

      When I flew to Oaxaca, my joy at the swift check in quickly disappeared as my flight was cancelled for 'operational reasons' which I'm pretty sure was code for 'Swine Flu's put people off travelling, not enough people have checked in, so since we fly several times a day, you lucky lot can just wait for the next departure'. We weren't told this until 10 minutes after we should have departed, however, and of course we were all sitting at the (supposed) gate at this point. The incoming plane had arrived, the passengers were disembarking, and we were ready to leave, so it was more than a little annoying to receive this information. We had to wait 2 hours for the next flight, and of course were offered nothing in the way of refreshments or, what would have been more useful for me, entertainment, so I ended up spending a small fortune on magazines and Krispy Kreme to keep me sane.


      In The Air

      The one thing Click managed to do quite well was the flying part of the experience. They assign seating (which I like) and on one occasion actually ripped up the boarding pass with my pre-assigned seat on, and swivelled the screen round to let me choose any seat I liked on the plane. For an hour journey, I'm really not bothered where I sit, but it was nice of them none the less. All Click flights include a drink and a snack, which is impressive given the short time most of them last. This depends on the time of day, but seems to be cookies in the morning, and lime flavoured Japanese peanuts after about 12pm. They do not sell additional food and drink on board, but the beverage selection was good - pretty much what you would get on a transatlantic flight from a full-service airline.

      There is no in-flight entertainment provided, though most of the time you will find a copy of their magazine in the seat pocket in front of you, and this is not as boring as some. I have found the planes to be generally clean and well maintained, though I don't like it when they start dripping condensation on you prior to take-off, as always seems to happen when I get a window seat on Click.

      Every Click flight I have been on has been delayed at least 40 mins, which is significant when your flight time is only 50 mins - 1 hour 10 mins in the first place. Unlike many airlines, they never overstate their flying time, so you cannot 'make up the time in the air'. This means if you leave 40 mins late, you're going to arrive at least 40 mins late...and often more.


      Arrival

      The two flights I'm talking about here took me to Veracruz and Oaxaca, both small airports, and then back to the large, sprawling, Mexico DF one. Outbound I had no problems with collecting luggage or so on, but then in both cases we were the only newly arrived flight. Returning things were slightly more drawn out because of the size of the airport, but Click does get points for having bagged a great arrivals spot, next to door 1 (the main entrance) of Terminal 1, which means the walk from there to the Metro is a mere 5 minutes. If you fly domestic with Aeromexico you end up in Terminal 2, which is a pain, and the international arrivals in Terminal 1 arrive further along the terminal, so you have to bang your way through the crowds, dragging your bags behind you if you're heading to the public transport.


      Prices

      I always try to book ahead to get a good deal, but when I decided to go to Oaxaca since we had some Swine Flu-enforced time off work, I quickly booked a flight with 2 days to go. I paid £112 for that flight, £56 for the Veracruz one, both travelling over weekends and both including taxes. Click is cheap but not really budget-airline cheap: Aeromexico is a full service airline and gave us a better deal for Puerto Vallarta (by about £40 per person), even Mexicana itself has proved competitive on many occasions.


      Website

      Though they used to have their own site, Click has now been incorporated into the Mexicana one: www.mexicana.com but yet, they're not the same, and the Mexicana high-street shops (Click has none) will not help you out after booking. On the website you have to select your 'country of purchase', which actually means the country your credit card was issued in. Prices are always quoted in US Dollars, unless you select Mexico in this section. This latter option is useful for comparisons, since some other Mexican airlines quote in Pesos, but you'll have to go back and change it if you then want to book, as once you've selected Mexico as your country of purchase, you have to supply a Mexican credit card, not just a Mexican address.


      Time To Click....To Another Airline

      Though the flights themselves have been fine, I have been very put off by the customer service provided by Click, and lack thereof. I was ready to put them on my never-again list after my first flight, but decided to give them another chance. However, on both occasions, the reception I received at the airport left a lot to be desired. Since I'm choosing to travel, and doing so for pleasure not business, the airport experience counts as the start of my mini-holiday, and is therefore important for me. I would not recommend Click based on my experiences, especially since with most destinations they offer, you do have a choice of budget carriers. I find it very strange since I have flown with Mexicana domestically and internationally, and will leave the country with them next month, but for whatever reason, their 'budget' arm seems to come with lower levels of service as well as lower prices, and that's just not something I'm happy to economise on.

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